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Evolution of JEE Advanced From A Paper-and-Pencil To A Computer-based Test

March 03, 2023
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The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) first used pen and paper testing. In a later phase, the questions and answers were printed out and handwritten into a booklet that was then read out. This strategy made sense considering the limited number of applicants. As time went on, the rise in candidates, available seats, and IITs became some of the factors that contributed to JEE becoming a two-step examination.

JEE Advanced: How One Of The Most Competitive Exams of the Country Evolved From Pen-and-Paper to CBT

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These actions were done as a result of how time-consuming it was to oversee the test process and hand review answer sheets. Because the findings had to be announced quickly, more infrastructure was needed. As a result, the pen-and-paper format was changed to an OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheet-based test where applicants answered multiple choice questions by filling in the appropriate question bubbles with pencils.

The OMR sheets that had been completed would then be scanned, with the results being logged to process the output. The candidates had some restrictions as a result. For instance, the scanner wouldn't be able to read it if the bubbles were darkened using a pencil that wasn't sufficiently dark. The scanner might still be able to read it if the pencil was dark enough and the applicant didn't sufficiently change an incorrect response after erasing it. To get around this as a standard, it was decided to bubble the solution using a black pen, although this had its own set of problems. The answer cannot be modified if a student entered the question incorrectly. The OMR sheet would become invalid if it were altered in any way.

There was no way to alter the situation. The scanner would read a student's ink drop inside the bubble as the correct response. Because they couldn't all be answered sequentially on the first try, students would frequently leave some of the questions to try or solve later. Nevertheless, this made it difficult for them to keep track of the questions.

Candidates had to choose between English or Hindi for the physical question papers, which were also available in both languages. Those who wanted to grasp a particular question during the exam in another language were unable to do so.

It was also a huge obligation to create the error-free randomized sets of Hindi and English exam papers. The Joint Admission Board made the decision to alter JEE (Advanced) by holding it as a computer-based test (CBT) in order to prevent the chance of any such mistakes and to benefit the students.

Benefits of CBT Mode

  • All students who choose the CBT method have access to the questions in both Hindi and English. 

  • The candidate may always see the questions they have attempted, are still working on, and need to review in their own special colors. 

  • With a few mouse clicks, the sections and questions can be reached. 

  • The provided answers can be changed as often as necessary, errors in marking the responses on the OMR sheets are prevented, and the final marked responses are automatically submitted after the test is finished.

  • During the exam, there are enough scribble pads available for the students to solve the problems on paper and enter the right response. 

  • The automatic randomization helps in the creation of numerous test sets with almost no chance of error. 

  • Everything a student does during an exam is always recorded by the system so that anything suspiciously done by the student can be reviewed.

When the JEE (Advanced) exam was administered in CBT mode for the first time in 2018, it went off without a hitch and set a precedent for the nation. Due to the procedure's effectiveness, individuals began debating applying it to further exams.

The JEE (Mains) exam, as well as various other tests, are administered by the National Testing Agency (NTA) now. The NTA first administered the test in both offline and CBT modes, but gradually moved all of its exams to CBT mode. This inspired other organizations throughout the nation as well. Nowadays, CBT is used for the majority of exams in the nation. 

Challenges of Transition

  • Many folks were concerned about their ability to adjust to this new manner.

  • Many court cases were filed.

  • Requirement of centres to accommodate 1.75 lakh students

  • Lack of resources

But gradually, NTA managed to overcome all the challenges and helped students in a smooth transition. A lot of educational videos and awareness drives were conducted to create familiarity with the new system, and now CBT is a successful mode of conducting of different competitive exams across the nation.

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